Mundy Cruising managing director Edwina Lonsdale shares her belief that despite the emergence of the omicron variant, cruise clients have “maintained a bullish can-do attitude”.
Following a very optimistic and buoyant November, omicron hit with a vengeance, and it felt like we were back in the middle of groundhog day, in our multiple roles of clairvoyant, counsellor and clinician.
The mood has been somewhat different though, with fewer cancellations from booked clients who have as a rule maintained a bullish can-do attitude, with a determination to travel come what may.
The attitudes of people with bookings in place is one thing – they are after all a self-selected group of relatively confident travellers.
We were interested to get a broader view with our latest survey to our expert panel, and were delighted to find they were feeling cautiously optimistic about travel in 2022, with 93 per cent planning to take at least one cruise this year.
Short haul destinations came out on top, with 49 per cent planning to visit the Mediterranean and 23 per cent eyeing a European river cruise. The Caribbean, Baltic and British Isles also featured prominently on cruisers’ wish lists for 2022.
Post-Christmas bookings bounce
The ongoing impact of Covid-19 inevitably looms over travel plans for 2022, with 62 per cent of respondents stating that they will avoid countries with low vaccination rates, highlighting their main concern – being locked down or quarantined abroad.
Overall, 92 per cent said that Covid-19 policies were either very important or somewhat important when choosing a cruise ship, so it is highly encouraging to be able to talk confidently about the extraordinary measures our cruise line partners have put in place to keep their clients safe and well – safer, in fact, than they would find themselves on land.
Our survey also found that 46 per cent of respondents are planning to travel on a smaller ship in 2022 compared to before the pandemic, and 42 per cent expect to splash out on a higher grade of accommodation than before.
With plenty of exciting small ship launches last year and into 2022 and 2023, we are delighted to be able to offer more options than ever.
The growing importance of sustainability was reflected in the fact that 41 per cent said hybrid or low carbon propulsion was important when selecting a ship. The industry’s focus on new technology and determination to reach for net zero is an inspiring story to tell our customers.
Bookings since Christmas – 20 per cent up over the same period in 2019/2020 – reflect a growing sense that we are over the worst of the pandemic.
We are confident that the burning desire of travellers to get back to normal – along with the very welcome overhauling of the onerous and unnecessary testing regime for overseas travel – means that cruise will come roaring back in 2022.